Ok sports fans, it is another one of the ‘tonight is going to be quick’ posts. Yes I am tired after today’s 96.48 mile ride. It was supposed to be 94.2 but I was happily riding along and not looking at my Garmin so did a detour (again). Oh well at least I am getting my money’s worth. The first part of the ride almost up to the SAG was through a pretty nice area of large houses and wealthy quiet small towns. If there are any kids reading and not sure what they want to be when they grow up and get a job, I would suggest a weather forecaster or meteorologist as they like to call themselves. The good thing about this job is that you guess the weather every day and get it wrong most days and nobody tells you off or sacks you. You guessed it – yet again the forecast was nothing like the actual day. According to all I spoke to, and all three of my weather apps, today was going to be a lot of rain, headwind and a high chance of thunderstorms for a few hours during our journey. I dressed to face the elements and set out onto the road. Of course it hardly rained much, we had little wind and occasionally when we did it was a tailwind, and you guessed it, not a sign of any storms all day. Now I was hot, over dressed and sweating under my waterproof clothing.
When I pulled into the first SAG everyone was having their picture taken with the 3,000 mile sign. I am not sure how many miles I have done up to this point but obviously it is over 3,000. The route each day is measured from hotel to hotel. In reality we might take a wrong turn, go to look at something along the way or head off to a shop or restaurant also. So I am sure if you include my occasional wrong turn, head down a road, turn around and resume the official route I am farther than 3,000 miles by now. Anyway, I have wandered off in my mind, as I sometimes do on the road, so sorry! Let me get back to today.
The middle third of the ride (almost as usual) became a battle of mental determination. The road was never very flat but rather rising and falling up and down through mainly fields, farms or small villages. Over the day the climbing mounted up and I am guessing that is why quite a few mentioned being tired at the end of the ride. On one climb up a long hill another cyclist, not one of our group, caught me up and as he flew past he said, “On your left Chris”. I thought how did he know it was me, and as he was quickly way ahead of me I couldn’t ask him. Finally the penny dropped when I realized he had seen my name on the reflective triangle we have on the rear of our bikes. The triangles were so everyone on the tour could recognize each other when we first started riding. To be honest now we know each other just by seeing how we pedal, sit on the bike and what we wear. When I stopped at a garage to buy some drinks my friend was there also refueling. After we chatting for a while, I found out he was a recovered alcoholic and drug addict. He now races his bike, does triathlons and has done a couple of Ironman’s. I wish him well if he is reading this (I gave him one of my cards for the blog) and congratulate him for turning his life around and having three kids. He should be very proud of what he has done as I am sure it was not as easy as saying ‘I just quit drink and drugs.’ At this stop I also saw Tom and got my bag from him which had another shirt in it. After changing shirts and also putting my heavy jacket into the bag. I discovered Tom had left. No worries – I put the bag on my back and headed off refreshed by the break, cooler clothing and caffeine drinks I had downed while talking to my new road warrior friend.
After a few miles Tom came past me in the truck and I noticed him pull over up ahead, obviously to take the bag from me. As I approached Tom who was now out of the van and walking towards me I whipped off the bag and passed it to him ‘Tour de France’ style (in reverse) like they do when they collect food from the support teams.
At 67.8 miles we had our 2nd SAG at a fire station in Avon. On arrival I got a picture of Irma by a bell that sat outside the station. To be honest I never eve looked why there was a bell there so I cant tell you either – sorry! Usual SAG story of quick chat while eating some fruit and some other goodies, filled both bottles with fluid and headed off again onto the road. The route said, ‘out of SAG ride 23 miles’. Again it was another up and down haul along SR 20E.
It is funny now that as we have been travelling along roads for so long now we all seem to take less photos the further we go. I am not sure if that is tiredness, we need something quite different to spark our interest, or that we have seen that much that we have stopped seeing interesting things anymore. Thinking this I decided I needed to take some pictures for this blog so here is what happened.
First I rode through a town called Lima.
Then I saw this sign which I thought slightly odd in New York State and am no wiser now as to why it was there. I don’t think there are kangaroos in NY state.
Next I saw a big tree which you might ignore most days of the week. When you actually look at it close up it is quite impressive, standing out in the middle of nowhere.
How about a view across a colourful field, with hills and mountains in the distance.
And finally we are back to my old mate, Mater from Cars, who seems to appear every now and then along this journey.
Eventually Irma and me arrived in town and before going to the hotel we headed off to find a bike shop to buy one last tube of Chamois cream to get me to Boston comfortably. I stopped at one shop only to find they only sold high end bikes and no supplies. We chatted a little as they asked the usual questions. After the usual conversation, they pointed me across the road to another bike shop that sold all the supplies and normal road bikes. When I walked in and asked for the cream, the assistant asked if I was with the group going to Boston. Obviously others had been in before me. A customer overheard the conversation and wanted to know what we were doing, and so I repeated the, ‘LA to Boston’ story for him.
After getting to the hotel I had to wash Irma down again. If we get any sort of rain or wet roads we have to wash the bikes because the dirt, sand and debris splashes onto the bike and builds up. It has to be done but is usually the last thing you want to do getting off your bike after riding 90+ miles. Ah well, Irma looks very clean and ready for another ride out tomorrow.
A hundred miles closer to Boston and the big adventure is approaching its end. Today could be seen as a long boring ride up and down the hills along route 20 east. Consistently, I have found it is way more than what it appears. It was another test of determination to persist to the end of a ride that will add up to a much bigger ride when this is all over. It also introduced me to a fellow cyclist with his own battles and reasons to be out on the road pushing himself along. Whether you ride to feel alive, get fit, take your mind off cancer, drugs or drink, cycling is a great way to push yourself physically and mentally for a while on your own. Finally if you don’t close your eyes to what is actually around you, you may actually see the beautiful in the ordinary, like a really nice tree, a fun rusty old truck or a colourful field, as you journey through life’s roads.
As usual when you actual sit back and think about it, today was another good day in the end.